No matter your target audience demographics, your customers are spending their time on social channels like Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. Not just to socialize either. They’re also rapidly adopting social commerce shopping. This year, eMarketer predicts that social commerce sales will rise by 34.8% to make up 4.3% of all retail eCommerce sales.¹
But social channels aren’t just encouraging more consumers to embrace online shopping, they’re also fundamentally changing the eCommerce shopping experience.
In this post, we’ll look at 3 ways social commerce is altering the customer experience for the better and highlight a few strategies to help you take advantage of the coming peak season boom.
What is Social Commerce?
Social commerce is a form of eCommerce shopping that occurs on social media channels. Businesses can promote product ads and exclusive deals. Consumers can browse product catalogs and purchase items directly from posts and images. And customer service agents can message shoppers to help them with their purchases.
Here are just a few social commerce examples you’ve likely seen at some point:
- Business chat options on Facebook
- Shopping bubbles popping up on product images on Instagram
- AR shopping on Snapchat
How exactly is social commerce changing the eCommerce landscape, though?
Exclusive Deals for Social Channels
Social media channels have become a popular place to entice shoppers with deals. Now, in addition to targeted ads, businesses are creating featured posts, direct messages, and stories with limited-time offers for followers.
In some cases, these can be flash sales with a time limit clearly listed on the post. In others, accessing the discount may be connected to a series of customer engagement activities (such as liking, sharing, and commenting on the post). Regardless, this new mode of social media marketing poses an incredible opportunity to retail and eCommerce businesses.
By taking a page out of the influencers’ playbook and using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and TikTok to promote exclusive deals, you can reach a wider audience and boost engagement. Your marketing team can also make your deals more appealing to prospective customers by adding countdowns, video, and stickers to stories and posts.
Managing Inventory on Social Channels
Letting customers shop your catalog from your social media profile is great for business, but it can bring a myriad of problems to retail and eCommerce companies. Besides keeping track of orders as they roll in, fulfillment teams also need to make sure that everything is shipped out smoothly and cost-effectively.
Luckily, managing your inventory on multiple social media channels (in addition to your eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores) is much easier than you might think. That is if you have the right software.
Leveraging omnichannel order management software, you can collect and process customer orders in a single space -- regardless of where the purchase originally came from. And you don’t have to move any of the data by hand, either. The omnichannel OMS will automatically log purchases in the system and notify your fulfillment team to pack, pick, and ship the products out to the customer.
Communicating Across Channels
Customers expect to have a seamless experience, no matter how many channels they use to connect with your brand. This is especially true when it comes to customer service.
You can successfully provide customer support on social channels without burning out or losing track of valuable shoppers, though. All you have to do is hand off your customer service to an outsourced customer care provider like Radial. With a full suite of social media communication options built into our omnichannel customer care approach -- including chat, direct messaging, and comment monitoring and response -- we have the processes in place to take care of your customers for you.
Achieving the success that top social commerce companies achieve isn’t easy. In fact, it requires a complete rethinking of eCommerce strategy and the adoption of many new tactics. However, as you prepare for peak season this year, social commerce should be on your priority list. Not only will it enable you to connect with millions of potential customers, but it can also improve your interactions with younger generations who prefer social media shopping.
And, armed with the strategies above, you’ll be in great shape to communicate with customers, manage your inventory, and promote your deals successfully on social media come October.
¹ “Social Commerce 2021, Media and Commerce Convergence Creates Growth Opportunity for Brands,” Insider Intelligence, February 2021